This feature appears in the July issue of Condé Nast House & Garden, on sale now.
Text: Julia Freemantle
Photographs: Karl Rogers
Production: Dean van Aswegen
Designing recreational spaces is about so much more than just the aesthetics – it’s about creating an experience, something that Tristan du Plessis does with great passion.
While interning at construction firm MBK, where he worked for a year, he met business partners Gregor and Wesley Bremer and they decided to fill what they felt was a gap in the market. In 2010, Soda Creations was born.
As specialists in hospitality and commercial spaces, the team has been behind the creative direction of various high-profile venues and its diverse portfolio includes a range of nightclubs (Taboo in Sandton – their first project), restaurants (Umi in Camps Bay) and even a hotel (The Marly boutique hotel, also in Camps Bay).
The latest, Churchills bar in Melrose Arch, is fashioned along the clubby, nostalgic lines of a British cigar lounge and was a particularly enjoyable project for Tristan.
And, while each is very different, what they all have in common is urban opulence – a slick, sophisticated aesthetic with a playful edge.
His own apartment at 44 Stanley in Joburg is glamorous, albeit with a slightly more industrial bent – the ultimate bachelor pad for anyone serious about contemporary design.
“I’d been looking for about a year before I found it. In my head I’d pictured a New York-style loft, so when I saw the concrete shell and beautiful staircase, I knew this was the one,” says Tristan.
Inside, he has played up the apartment’s gritty urban finishes with industrial-inspired furniture, which he has offset with high-end statement pieces, like an Eames chair and OKHA lamp, and contemporary artwork.
“A friend of mine did a series of photographs of drug dealers and gangsters,” he says of a black-and-white piece above the fireplace.
This mix is clearly the work of someone who knows their own style. So much so that he’s had many pieces in the space made up to his own designs – the pared-down dining table, a smoky black-glass-and-steel coffee table, as well as a few metal sculptures.
The same factory that made these fits out all their projects, ensuring that everything is done just right. “It’s the only way to guarantee your vision,” Tristan comments.
Not one to settle into a comfort zone it seems, he has also recently launched an online lighting business called Dark Lighting, which will import a range of styles from Hong Kong – from industrial to traditional and everything in between.
Soda Creations @ sodacreations.co.za
Dark Lighting @ darklighting.co.za